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GE hopes to 'TiP' scales with virtual training program


All modalities will be covered interactivelyGE Healthcare's training in partnership (TiP) program is about to expand. Early this month, the company will begin implementing a massive expansion of the TiP Virtual Assist product,

All modalities will be covered interactively

GE Healthcare's training in partnership (TiP) program is about to expand. Early this month, the company will begin implementing a massive expansion of the TiP Virtual Assist product, known as TVA, a move that company executives expect will be welcomed by thousands of GE customers.

TVA allows trainers to connect directly with a user¹s computer to provide real-time observation, training, and two-way interaction. It was introduced at the 2003 RSNA meeting and will soon be made available for use across all the imaging modalities supported by GE, said Jack Albertson, TiP Applications program manager for GE.

Thus far, most of the training sessions using TVA have involved Advantage workstations software and CT and MR consoles. By year's end, the service will be available on all new GE equipment. The only requirement will be broadband capability.

The focus will be on training, but problem solving will not be out of the question. Instruction can range from ameliorating image problems to changing parameter settings and identifying useful protocols.

"TVA is equivalent to having a personal trainer at your gym, showing you how to use equipment, observing you, and continually coaching you to maximize your development," Albertson said. "We expect that over the next 12 to 18 months, every GE customer will sign up for TVA."

TVA is the latest extension of a communications program that GE launched more than a decade ago. The early version, TiP TV, revolved around educational television programs available to GE customers by satellite. TVA was developed in response to the current tech shortage and the growing sophistication of technology. GE executives hope it will provide customers with a focused, efficient, and cost-effective training tool to improve clinical performance, as well as staff satisfaction and retention.

"When a customer orders onsite training with a new imaging system, that customer automatically gets in-person training from GE. Someone comes out and trains them on patient positioning, protocols, and other aspects of the new system," he said. "Now customers have the option of receiving additional training through TVA."

Because TVA is comprehensive and focused, a two-hour instructional session is equivalent to a full day of onsite applications training, Albertson said. In a typical scenario, a customer would seek assistance learning an advanced software program used with a GE system. While GE's TiP answer line can provide clinicians with assistance during a procedure, TVA is designed to provide the education necessary for technologists to complete procedures on their own. 

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